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|GR: Still no pity for Marianne (long)
Written by joe m
(9/2/2003 12:13 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Feeling sorry for Marianne, penned by Barbara
"leave me, leave me, if I distress you; leave me, hate me, forget me; but do not torture me so."
That's hardly the thing to say to someone who obviously cares for you and is trying to comfort you. In her defense, she does beg for forgiveness and throws her arms around Elinor fairly soon after this. Then later in the chapter (29), she gives us this:
"Elinor, I have been cruelly used, but not by Willoughby."
I'm beginning to think the first chapter description, (Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever), of her was ironic rather than authoritative.
"By all the world, rather than by his own heart. I could rather believe every creature of my acquaintance leagued together to ruin me... Beyond you three, is there a creature in the world whom I would not rather suspect of evil than Willoughby, whose heart I know so well?"
I realize she's in rather a state of shock, and some allowances must be made for this, but how can a person so blinded from reality function in the world?
THen despite the genuine compassion of Mrs. Jennings in ch. 30, Marianne gives us this:
"she cannot feel. Her kindness is not sympathy; her good-nature is not tenderness. All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it."
At this very moment, my dislike for Marianne equalled my dislike of Fanny! What an ingrate! Her only saving grace is that unlike Fanny, she acts out of self-absorption instead of outright malice.
Then this: "while the sisters were together in their own room after breakfast, which sunk the heart of Mrs. Jennings still lower in her estimation; because, through her own weakness, it chanced to prove a source of fresh pain to herself, though Mrs. Jennings was governed in it by an impulse of the utmost good-will.
With a letter in her out Stretched hand, and countenance gaily smiling, from the persuasion of bringing comfort, she entered their room, saying --
"Now, my dear, I bring you something that I am sure will do you good."
Marianne heard enough. [snip] The hand writing of her mother, never till then unwelcome..."
I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but at this point, I thought she deserved Willoughby. This is not a person who deserves a genuinely caring love. I know this is rather heartless on my part, but that's how low my estimation of her sank.
However, she does gain a small amount of redemption in the following:
"His chief reward for the painful exertion of disclosing past sorrows and present humiliations, was given in the pitying eye with which Marianne sometimes observed him, and the gentleness of her voice whenever (though it did not often happen) she was obliged, or could oblige herself to speak to him."
It's the first time she's shown the slightest hint of getting out of her cocoon and having thoughts of something other than herself. It's just a baby step, (since she didn't often oblige herself to speak), but there is a glimmer of hope that she's redeemable.
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